It seems only fitting that in the face of moral upheaval roaring forth from recent political events, an album like Slugger is released. Sad13 is most widely known as Sadie Dupuis, lead singer and shredding guitarist of Speedy Ortiz. Taking a break from her band and moving to Philly in the wake of a break-up, Sadie focused on her solo project, Sad13, and wrote one of the most poignant records of the year.

Slugger mixes live instrumentation, electronics, programmed beats, and catchy-as-hell melodies that at times disguise cutting lyricism and poetry. The album opens with ‘<2’, where there are swelling, twisted synths, a hip-hop beat that has a purposeful drag until it picks up for the chorus. This first track represents the basics of what is to come sonically. But, like I said, the utter catchiness of the melody and composition purposefully causes the lyricism to catch you off guard. On the track, she sings, “’Cause it’s not a revolution/ unless it’s really gonna cost him/ The sick lack of humility.” It’s these kinds of lyrics that tell the listener right off the bat you best be prepared to think outside yourself.

‘Get a Yes’ is an anthem both sonically and lyrically; the beats are mid-tempo and danceable, the melody compels you to sing along, the style is very ‘90s pop with a modern experimental twist - which is to be expected from a musician as well versed as Sad13. The keys flutter and are just the right amount of glitter falling before you, and the point can’t be driven home hard enough that this is purposeful beyond just creating something sonically pleasing. It gets you singing along to the lyrics before you fully realize what you are singing. ‘Get a Yes’ is a wake-up call to all those who think they deserve or are owed any form of sexual gratification from another individual for any number of ridiculous reasons. And Sad13 lays the facts out for them clear as day, “I say ‘yes’ to the dress when I put it on/ I say ‘yes’ if I want you to take it off...I say ‘yes’ if I want to/ If you want to you’ve gotta get a ‘yes’.” Consent is one of the most talked about moral obligations in 2016, and on ‘Get a Yes’, Sad13 eloquently and simply provides the framework for consent.

Possibly the most catchy song on the album is ‘Hype’, where the driving drums, distortion, and pumping bass gets you rocking immediately. When it comes to composition, ‘Hype’ gets your adrenaline pumping. The ease with which Sad13 transitions from her chest voice to falsetto balances the grit of the instrumentation. And again, Sad13 is back to drop knowledge and call out the patriarchy. She sings of being described as dark, “moody and insane.” She then takes a left turn and sings, “but you still want to lick my asshole, man.” This is not shock for the sake of being shocking. This confronts the notion head-on that straight men, no matter how bro or straight-laced, secretly want the “goth chick.” It also forces you to confront why you find those words shocking: because of the act described? Because of the clear-cut brazenness of the phrasing? Or, because it’s a woman singing them? Again, Slugger takes away any notion that this is your run-of-the-mill alt-pop record of a talented musician dabbling in unexplored territory. This record is a statement from the first note to the last beat.

Slugger is a no-holds-barred art-pop surge of iron-clad beats, and acute lyricism that goes beyond post-breakup reflections and confronts the listener to actually think about the state of being a biological, self-identifying, or perceived female in today’s world and the ardent misogyny they face. Reading that last sentence may give off the impression of self-righteousness; Slugger is anything but that. There is no angry finger pointing. There are only poems that lay out poignant representations of what it means to be a woman - or anyone who faces oppression, for that matter. And these points convey an honesty that deserves a serious reflection from anyone who considers themselves a decent human being. This is why Slugger is such an important album in light of the recent political turn of events.

In times of uncertainty, art is often seen as escapism; while this is true to an extent, this is just what is visible on the surface. Art, especially music, is a way of processing and presenting the physical in a way that injects the ethereal self with thought and action. In all honesty, Sadie as Sad13 is speaking to individuals like myself- cis-gender, straight, males who need to go beyond just agreeing “misogyny is bad” and be ready to take action alongside the oppressed; to take those next steps that go beyond words and create change and complete understanding and trust in oppressed individuals. Slugger is a perfect setup for this.